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Giants Face Off Against Better Team, Lose Terribly

Giants have now lost 11 of their last 17 and 9 of 10 on the road. They get swept in a doubleheader by a far better organization in the St. Louis Cardinals. A summer of ennui begins.

"Physician, heal thyself."
"Physician, heal thyself."

I didn't get to *see* this game because it was blacked out locally, so I could only listen to KNBR. I was able to hear quite a bit, however. It's pretty clear when something is in its death throes.

* * *

What a horrible day of baseball by the San Francisco Giants. What a forgettable, dreadful, faith-questioning stretch of baseball these past two and a half weeks have been. If it's not the occasional deadness of the bats, then it's the constant "Uh-oh, they're done" performance by the pitching staff, starting to relief. I don't know what you folks want me to do here: be a blind fan who always thinks they're a game away from a long winning streak that puts our favorite baseball team back on top or a reasonable person who looks at what's happening and attempts to describe or explain it as rationally as possible.

I'll admit that I'm not one to be rational where the Giants are involved. For example, I considered these other titles for this article:

"The Giants are dead. Long live the Giants!"

"Baseball puts the Giants in the rearview mirror."

"The Giants suck and you should hate them."

Clearly, though, the Giants are no longer worth your valuable time. I think a good cooling-off period would be the month of June. They have a brutal schedule, they're playing brutal baseball, their roster is brutal on account of sickness, injury, and abject suckitude... just go on a Giants hiatus and come back in July. Maybe even after the All-Star break.

I dunno. Go watch "Orphan Black" (on BBC America) or something. I hear it's pretty good.

But I know you're not going to do that. You are a masochist. This team is terrible. Has been for two and a half weeks. Could it all turn around in an instant? Maybe. Maybe not. It's not like they're so far behind the division leader that it's impossible to come back. However, it's not like the Giants have done much of anything 1/3 of the way through the season to demonstrate that they can sustain solid performance for a month or two. That's 100% because of the pitching. We might be able to sleep at night by telling ourselves that most of the hitters have been sick or streaky, but the pitching has been bad the entire season, pretty much every starter and every reliever. I think the best case scenario for this 2013 team is that they're okay. Average. Just... okay.

And if you want to argue that the pitching *can* look good sometimes, then you have to admit it can look A-ballish at other times. And if you agree that the pitching has been inconsistent, then doesn't it confirm that the team is just okay? Isn't that the definition of okay? It's not all great, it's not all terrible. The Giants are just okay. That's not the worst thing in the world. Sure, it's a letdown after they won the World Series last year, and we'd certainly like to root for them in hopes that they at least make a run in the playoffs to perhaps defend their title the year after they win it all. That all sounds fun. But this team is really just okay.

Some data:

Runs Allowed in April & May

2009 196
2010 210
2011 193*
2012 202
2013 245

*-Includes one game in March

It's a sad state of affairs, but the fact that the Giants nabbed two World Series during this window of strong pitching (which I declare began in 2009) is impressive and should be applauded. Going forward, given the lack of depth and the fact that most of the Giants pitchers have thrown a lot of pitches since this window opened, it's more reasonable to expect them to be middle of the pack. The offense (as it did last year, remember) is what'll really have to carry them.

Really though, instead of bashing our heads against the wall or being blind devotees, I think it's better if we all lower our expectations of this team. Yes, they could make a run. Yes, the division is there for the taking. Yes, they still have Buster Posey and the other hitters could come around and be more consistent (Brandon Belt surely has). Yes, they've still got Dave Righetti and Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner could be enough stability going forward. There are simply a lot of conditions that need to break the Giants way. Of course, that's the case with every baseball season. The Giants have been pretty fortunate since 2009 (I'll even count 2011 as being fortunate, since the pitching was so fantastic it kept an otherwise dreadful team "in it" far longer than it probably should have been) and maybe this is the year they are simply less fortunate.

The Cardinals, on the other hand, are the superior team. Offense, pitching, depth... the Giants don't stand a chance. I think it's the depth that's most telling. There are no Sandy Rosarios on or around the major league team. Shelby Miller and Adam Wainwright are plainly better than the 2013 editions of Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner. I don't know what riddle Pete Kozma is the answer to, but I know he's an answer to *a* riddle, since riddles infuriate me. Carlos Beltran. Yadier Molina. Ty Wigginton.

It was hard to tell if the Cardinals fans were applauding Adam Wainwright's performance or doing the wave again. In any case, he was amazing. And his strikeout to walk ratio is something like 14 to 1. He also doubled off Madison Bumgarner, which stunk.

The Giants played 18 innings of baseball today, and pretty much stunk in every single one of them.

Tomorrow, it's Chad Gaudin starting. Even if the Giants pull out a win, just remember that the season is already over and there's no point in watching baseball anymore. Unless you really, really want to.